This project meets the needs of BME women living in Wales who are the victims of all forms of abuse and violence and face the additional and exceptional challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘lockdown’. This all Wales Project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
In the past BME women who are the victims of abuse and violence have used the few opportunities that exist to talk together and support each other and to seek help. Journeys to and from school, visits to health clinics and GP’s and to the shops have always been important moments to acquire information, advice and reassurance from sympathetic members of the family, friends and professional workers. Teachers, health visitors, and medical staff who come into contact with victims could make a referral if they identified the possibility of abuse.
Disclosure of abuse has always been very difficult for BME women and is only ever discussed and confirmed by word of mouth with very trusted individuals. Disclosure is seldom written or made online or through social media or with the use of a computer or smart phone. When a victim calls the 24 hour Bawso Helpline it takes time and often a number of calls to establish a rapport with a Bawso worker from the same BME community who speaks the same language, to enable a disclosure to be made and for a referral to be activated.
Community advocates will undertake a number of tasks. They will:
- Work with BME community leaders, groups, networks and activists to identify victims of VAWDASV
- Make safe connections with victims to enable them to receive support and guidance and provide crises intervention if required
- Respond to self-referrals and referrals from friends or family and local support services
- Work with victims to help them acquire the skills necessary to use smart phones and online platforms to maintain communications with Bawso and access information and services
- Establish and develop close collaborative working relationships with local BME community groups working with the young, elderly and other sections of the community
- Initiate and contribute to group discussions and dialogues within BME communities on violence against women and the nature and availability of Bawso services
- Identify and use local patterns of community communication to raise awareness of violence against women and Bawso services